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Newsletter: Today: His Way or No Highway?

Trump responds to cover-up statements

President Trump says Democrats must drop their investigations or he won’t work with them on rebuilding infrastructure — or anything else.

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His Way or No Highway?

President Trump says he has given Democratic leaders an ultimatum: Stop investigating his finances, businesses and administration, and he can start talking again about a deal to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges, airports and other infrastructure. He made his point by storming out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer after just a few minutes. The source of his anger appeared to be comments from Pelosi that Trump is engaging in a “cover-up.” But as the president continues to stonewall various investigations, he was dealt another setback in court: For the second time in two days, a federal judge rejected Trump’s refusal to honor congressional subpoenas and ordered him to turn over financial records to Democratic-led committees. Meanwhile, those roads and bridges aren’t fixing themselves.

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More Politics

-- Easing some of the escalating tension between Congress and the White House, the House Intelligence Committee postponed efforts to enforce a subpoena against the Justice Department after officials agreed to hand over a cache of documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report.

-- A White House official said Trump is expected to appoint Ken Cuccinelli II, an immigration hard-liner who is one of the president’s strongest cheerleaders on cable news, to crack down on legal and illegal immigration.

-- Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin says it would be “unlawful” to give Trump’s tax returns to Congress and asserted that a confidential IRS draft memo revealed on Tuesday didn’t contradict him.

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-- Mnuchin also said the $20 bill redesign featuring Harriet Tubman will not meet a 2020 deadline for redesign and instead be delayed until 2028. Before he was elected, Trump called the decision to put Tubman on the currency “pure political correctness.”

Not What They Signed Up For

Trump aides have been examining high-profile war crimes cases from Iraq and Afghanistan, preparing paperwork so Trump can issue pardons for service members and security contractors during Memorial Day commemorations next week, according to two senior U.S. officials. But current and former military officers have urged the White House not to. “I think a lot of us would see it in the same way — that it’s just awful,” said one senior officer at the Pentagon. Trump has already pardoned Army Lt. Michael Behenna, who was convicted of killing an Iraqi during questioning in 2008.

In America — and Not

Before the Trump administration made deep cuts to refugee resettlement programs, thousands of Iranians came to the U.S. each year, and hundreds made Washington state their home. Sirvan Moradi is one of just 103 Iranian refugees to arrive in the U.S. over the last seven months and among 12 who settled in Washington. He fought for years to get to America. Now, he asks why he’s here.

Finding Faults in Child Welfare

A state audit of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services has found major shortcomings. The audit, launched last year after the slayings of two boys who had been the subject of child abuse investigations before their deaths, says that the DCFS didn’t always do criminal background checks of those living in homes where children were placed. It also says the agency did not complete investigations quickly enough and used “inaccurate” assessments to determine child risk.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this date in 1919, Gov. William D. Stephens signed Assembly Bill 626, which created the Southern Branch of the University of California on the site now occupied by Los Angeles City College in East Hollywood. Today, we know this institution as UCLA, whose Westwood campus opened in 1929. Over the weekend, the university began marking its 100th anniversary.

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In this photo from the 1940s or ’50s, UCLA students lounge and walk between classes.
(UCLA)

CALIFORNIA

-- Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s reached an agreement with the Trump administration not to redirect funds from a high-speed rail grant while California’s lawsuit against the federal government proceeds.

-- The state Senate passed a bill to tighten California’s already strict school immunization law. Now the Assembly must weigh a proposal that has prompted protests and reports of death threats against at least one lawmaker.

-- Los Angeles lawyer Michael Avenatti has been indicted on charges of stealing from his former client Stormy Daniels by skimming money from her deal to write a memoir about her alleged affair with Trump.

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-- The fix for those early adopters of the Real ID driver’s license is coming soon to a mailbox near you.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Director Quentin Tarantino got testy at the Cannes Film Festival over a question about women’s roles in his films.

-- “Diego Maradona” is the newest documentary by Oscar-winning director Asif Kapadia. He spoke with critic Kenneth Turan in Cannes.

-- With a story drawn from her own life, “The Souvenir” is a breakthrough for filmmaker Joanna Hogg as well as actress Honor Swinton Byrne.

-- Is a new television adaptation of Umberto Eco’s 1980 medieval ecclesiastic detective novel “The Name of the Rose” the next “Game of Thrones”?

NATION-WORLD

-- The National Weather Service says a violent tornado touched down in Jefferson City, Mo., causing three deaths and heavy damage.

-- U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily stopped sending migrants to a massive processing center in south Texas this week after the death of a 16-year-old who fell ill there and a flu outbreak.

-- The young Californian who became known as the American Taliban, after he was captured by U.S. forces in the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, is set to go free today after nearly two decades in prison.

-- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the cusp of winning a second five-year term, fighting off concerns about rising unemployment and religious violence to prevail in one of the country’s most divisive election campaigns in recent memory.

-- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has moved to have truckloads of garbage that Filipino officials say were illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago be forcibly shipped back to Canada.

BUSINESS

-- An abandoned iron mine on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park could be repurposed as a massive hydroelectric power plant under a bill with bipartisan support in the state Legislature.

-- Could Tesla merge with SpaceX? A Morgan Stanley analyst has raised the possibility of the two Elon Musk companies combining. And in yet more Musk news, his Boring Co. will build an underground transit loop for the Las Vegas Convention Center.

SPORTS

-- The Golden State Warriors are heading to a fifth consecutive appearance in the NBA finals. Plenty of bench depth and a nine-day break should give them an edge against their opponent: either the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks.

-- An afternoon storm caused flooding in the Angel Stadium outfield, where drainage is lacking, and wreaked havoc on the series finale between the Angels and Minnesota Twins. Neither team is happy about it.

OPINION

-- Trump says, “I don’t do cover-ups.” Well, glad that’s settled. Remember “I am not a crook” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”?

-- California’s big housing bill, Senate Bill 50, tanked. Columnist George Skelton says Gov. Gavin Newsom is partly to blame.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared Trump during a key meeting in Germany. (Washington Post)

-- Multiple women have accused self-help guru Tony Robbins of sexual misconduct. He has dismissed the allegations. (BuzzFeed News)

-- Do spoilers ruin or enhance the fun of consuming fiction? (Aeon)

ONLY IN L.A.

They’re a part of L.A. history: Elton John. The Troubadour. The L.A. Times review that helped propel his rise to stardom. They’re also a part of L.A. legend: Many tall tales surrounding John’s gig in August 1970 have been told. To wit: The movie “Rocketman” makes no bones about mixing fact and fiction. But if you want the true story of what happened back then, read (and rock) on.

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